Chair Yoga Practice for Seniors

Anchorage Assisted Living blog

Yoga is a universal activity that can benefit individuals in all walks of life. Unfortunately, many traditional yoga poses may prove challenging for individuals with decreased mobility; however, by using a chair, most poses become achievable. The chair yoga practice described below creates an opportunity for all people to experience the benefits of yoga.

  1. Chair cat and cow

Sitting at the front of the chair with hands on the knees, the practitioner warms up the spine by lifting the chest forward and up extending the spine in cow pose. To counter this movement, the yogi moves the spine into flexion by bringing the chin to the chest and moving the thoracic spine (mid-spine) towards the back of the chair.

  1. Chair warrior

For this standing pose, the yogi will move to the right side of the chair, turn to face it, and then take a big step ahead, moving the seat between the legs. As the left knee bends, the thigh comes down to rest on the chair while the right leg extends behind. Arms rise up in a parallel position to the legs. The yogi balances here while looking just over the left fingertips before repeating on the other side.

  1. Chair triangle

For this version of Trikonasana, or triangle pose, the practitioner stands with his or her left side in front of the chair. Pointing the left toes towards the chair, the foot moves ahead, just under the seat. The right foot steps back to create a triangle shape between the legs; the outside edge of the right foot is parallel to the seat. Gently, the yogi leans down towards the chair, placing the palm or fingertips of the left hand onto the seat while the hips move away from the chair. The right fingertips reach up towards the sky. The yogi will feel a light stretch in the back, shoulders, and right side of the body before repeating this pose on the other side.

  1. Chair downward dog

Yogis face the chair, about a leg’s length away, with feet hip-width apart. Keeping the legs and arms straight, without locking them, the practitioner leans forward, until the hands reach the chair. With equal weight in the hands and feet, the yogi relaxes the head and neck. Depending on the flexibility of the back, practitioners can stand behind the chair and hold onto the back of the chair, or face the front and place the palms on the seat of the chair; the latter option being the more challenging of the two.

  1. Chair twist

While seated at the front of the chair, the practitioner will plant the feet on the ground and roll the shoulders back and away from the ears. Gently turning towards the right side wall, the left hand will move to the right knee as the right hand reaches towards the right hip or back right corner of the seat. Yogis should twist as much as their spine will naturally allow, avoiding added pressure in the hands to unnaturally force the twist. The practitioner will repeat on the other side.

A chair yoga practice can be very beneficial to those with decreased mobility but also for anyone looking for a midday break from a desk job. Gentle and universal, chair yoga practitioners will quickly notice improved posture, relaxation and overall health.

Living at Baxter Senior Living in Anchorage Alaska At Baxter Senior Living, we work to ensure that our community is an extension of your loved ones family. If you are at a place in your life that you need to discuss Anchorage Assisted Living, Anchorage Memory Care, or Anchorage Respite Care please reach out today. We are happy to help answer any questions. Contact a Baxter Senior Living Representative today! 907-865-3500

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